Will Goldsmith, Head of Bedales Schools, in front of library
Will Goldsmith
Head of Bedales Schools

MA (Hons) English Literature, University of Edinburgh
Graduate Teacher Programme with QTS, Brunel University
PGCAEP, Oxford Brookes

What makes a good teacher at Bedales?

The best teachers in any school are the ones who know their students, their subject and their craft (of teaching) really well. Caring about the people around you – young people, parents, colleagues and the wider community is also crucial. At Bedales specifically, we are at our best as teachers when we appreciate how special a place this is – the ethos, the legacy of John Badley and others, the environment and the community all make this a very wonderful place to be. 

What are you trying to encourage and instil in your students?

For me, education is about empowering young people to engage with learning on a profound level that they sustain their whole life. They should leave Bedales with a healthy knowledge of themselves, their fellow human beings and the world around them, both in an academic sense and on a broader, more universal level. There are always more things to learn in life and the students I work with should, if I am successful, find that prospect enduringly exciting. 

Apart from your teaching role, what else do you get involved with at the school?

I get to participate in a whole range of things at the school as I like to get a real flavour of the breadth of what goes on in the school community. Whether it be witnessing the birth of the latest litter of piglets on the school farm, singing in a school concert or representing the school in the wider academic world. I’m also particularly passionate about diversity and work closely with students in supporting LGBT+ rights in school and beyond. 

In your opinion, what makes Bedales special?

Having attended and worked in a wide variety of schools (state/private, religious/secular, single-sex/co-ed, UK/international) I have a pretty solid understanding of schools in general. As such, I do feel I can say with at least some authority that Bedales is a unique school. For me, the willingness to challenge the orthodoxies of education (without necessarily rejecting them), combined with a profoundly communitarian approach and an understanding of the importance of the natural world make Bedales very special indeed.

Who or what inspires you?

While I am inspired by so many people and so many things, I am most inspired by the young people with whom I work. The energy and excitement that they exude makes being an educator so fulfilling and they inform so much of what I do. 

Tell us something not a lot of people know about you.

I have a passion for genealogy and have discovered that, amongst my ancestors are a (self-proclaimed) king of the Scottish gypsies, an 18th century abolitionist, Flora MacDonald and a 19th century painter of seascapes.